“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” Lou Holtz

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." Confucius

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Time Trial day

Today's  weather forecast had been very iffy but when it came down to it, we had perfect weather.  The previous day's head wind on the way back was still there but not as strongly.

My normal plan is to load the car up with everything I need and drive down to the start very early to get a good spot, then cycle back home on the road bike and somewhat  later cycle back again and get onto the trainer.  However this year the stomach bug I've been wrestling for the past 2 weeks reared it's ugly head again this morning and so I drove down much closer to my start time.  Actually not only did I race on fresh air and water, I  couldn't even manage to have any coffee so I also raced with a caffeine withdrawal headache!

So I warmed up initially on the road bike, then on the TT bike, although I was very despondent with how hard everything seemed on the TT bike...until I got off and realised the back tyre had punctured.......=language most foul!

Well what can you do?...change wheels and think positively...its a lighter wheel was my positive thought. I did a couple of quick efforts to make sure the gears were working and it was time for my bike to be inspected.

I was last starter in my group and all went well until the hill ( tops out briefly at 7%) which is when I discovered that  actually all was not ok with my gears.   Looking for an easier gear, everything went bellyup and I almost came to a standstill as I fished around for a gear, any gear that would work and that I could turn!  Well I got up it, but with somewhat more pain in my legs and a higher heart rate than planned..however, when the going gets tough etc etc...and people who do TT's are tough types.  What's more, I'd carted the TT bike around for weeks and I wasn't going to give up before it earned it's keep!

A much needed day of rest happens tomorrow which will include a bit of a ride, a drive out to Oberndorf to pick up my newly re-tyred wheel and ...groan...packing the TT bike........the weather forecast for my RR is currently diabolical, but we'll see..we all know how accurate they are.........not.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Sankt Johann in Tirol

Prior to the 2 most important races of this particular block of racing, I'm trying hard NOT to go out and smash myself senseless on these beautiful roads...luckily it's raining so the temptation is somewhat nullified...however I also have to think of this (from FB..natch)

like I said, the weather is less than friendly with another incredible storm last night cutting the electricity off for a few hours....playing Scrabble in Italian was hard enough without having to play it by candlelight!

my races are on Wednesday and ...oooooh dear..Friday

Friday, 24 August 2012

Farewell Deutschlandsberg

Ciao to Deutschlandsberg, town of multi coloured houses, pumpkins, corn(maize), funny named satellite towns and suspiciously naughty places up almost deserted valley roads...taking my understanding of the term "interactive games" to another baser level....
I wanted to get closer to this town, but the roads were being fixed and were only suitable for a mountain bike..sad...Grub and Grubegg will live for ever in my mind.
Some things are just desperate to live and grow
I want one!
and finally
and so farewell D'berg and also sunny weather (hopefully temporarily), last night's thunderstorm here in the Tirol being a real son e lumiere occasion...even Melbourne's very best thunderstorm couldn't compete and now it's raining, dammit.....better get a pix of my sun tan before it fades!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

R'n R in Steiermark

Fantastic weather: blue skies, little or no wind, 30 degrees+, no commitments...paradise!

 So the day goes something like this: wake up/shower/brekky/60-70km ride/coffee or ice cream or lunch/back to hotel/download Garmin/shower/nanna nap/download pix/watch the Vuelta(TV for the pix + the internet for the English commentary)/go for a walk/shop/eat/sleep. like I said....paradise on earth.

With the week's gap between races quite a few cyclists have opted to stay here rather than travel north straight away so there's still quite a cycling presence here in Deutschlandsberg and since there is a general feeling of sadness that the race week has had to move, the locals are more than usually friendly...not that they're ever anything other than very polite and friendly...just aa bit more so this year I've noticed .

So while my rides are still training rides with hill efforts (did a 16% er up to Stainz castle today...well ok, it was only very briefly 16% but I'm claiming it!) I have plenty of time to check out people's taste in garden furniture, colour of house etc etc.

What is it with Italians and Austrians and garden gnomes!!!

I thought the first factory was, well...very blue....until I saw the second one!

Today's colour is....blue!

Monday, 20 August 2012

The Radmaraton

Fantastic weather, a well policed course and about 800-900 riders.....incredible.

My course was 63km and since I started off at the back, I spent the first 2km overtaking all those struggling on the first of only 2 really challenging hils (actually not too challenging, but there were alot of town bikes on the road.

Someone crashed behind me, so I stayed with her until the ambulance arrived and then proceeded to  overtake everyone all over again!  I had a ball..at one time I realised I  had developed a tail and after a while one of the tail took over the lead and from then one I was drafting.  There were 2 feed stations but I didn't stop..I'm not sure food is a necessity on a 60km ride!

So that's the end of racing here in Deutschlandsberg both this year and forever since next year the Weltradsportwoche moves to Hartberg which is about 100km further north.

I'm here for another 3 days and with great weather forecasted will spent alot of it training however my main task is to try not to put back on the weight i lost due to the gastro!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Racing Again

So after 4 days of feeling "off" and not being able to stray too far from the bathroom, I'm back "racing" again.

Today's race was the ¬20km TT..Since I'm a tad low on energy (although probably a few kgs lighter too) my aim was just to take it as a fast training session. I felt ok until about 5km from the finish when the lights flickered and threatened to go out completely. 200-300m later and a timely downhill allowed me to re-engage and at least finish looking as though I was working hard(!). I was 3rd.  There were >400 racers today...only 8 in my class though.

The weather today was perfect..no wind, mid 20's. I'm holding my breath for the next fortnight's weather as it's been super for 5 weeks now....can it keep being so good???....pretty please.

This week here in Deutschlandsberg
YES! & then Nooooooo!
Next week in Sankt Johan in Tirol

Tomorrow's ride is the 63km Radmaraton which is a first for me as normally I'm hurrying up to Sankt Johan immediately after the TT..more on this next post.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Change of plans


Unusually for me I've managed to get in the way of a virus and so have spent rather lot of time over the last 3 days feeling a bit off. I felt really crap on Tuesday, raced the pairs TT on Wedneday at less than 100% and since then have spent rather alot of time fast asleep and with no appetite whatsoever. I never intended racing the hill climb today and now will also skip the road race tomorrow. The Saturday TT remains a hope..sort of depends on how much I improve tomorrow.


 I thought my plans to move over to St Johann on Sunday were set in concrete, so it came as a bit of surprise to discover I wasn't expected until Thursday! Luckily I can stay here for the extra days, so no real drama.  For the first time I'll get some time to explore this area as a tourist, rather than as a racer.

Today I went to see a Roman Village close by here but was mightily disappointed...I expected more but just got to see some photos, a few bits of pottery, a couple of walls and this, whatever it is:

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Monday, 13 August 2012

Competing, buying, posting + update


 Today's race was the 300m  straight line sprint. I got 4th in the qualifying round and so will race later this evening. Quietly I'd sort hoped to get 5th so as to have a longer rest..but 'twas not to be..however.....mustn't grumble. I'm up against a tough looking Czech chick and she's got no need to resort to mind games...I'm already shaking in my shoes!  More later after the finals.

UPDATE: got 3rd! and I'm feeling pretty smug! Only problem is I'll have to dress up a little for the podium!!!!!;-)))


 I am a lucky lucky person.  This morning, mooching around town, I wandered into a sports shop..as you do...and found some of my favourite Craft bib knicks. Checking them out I noted that of the 3 in my size, 2 had the inferior chamois and 1 didn't. I then checked the price and saw that they were all the same price..whoops...bit of a mistake there. Anyhow, the price was VERY favourable...89 euros instead of approx $A200, so I bought the one good pair and that's when I discovered there was a 20% discount...end of season sales......lucky, lucky, lucky...well, ok so they are Radioshank branded, but at that price....!


 As usual I'm posting parcels off to myself  with all the clothes I no longer want/need with me, maps, books, souvenirs, etc etc. It's much cheaper than excess baggage and it's fun getting parcels in  a couple of month's time..sorta extends the holiday a bit

Some things you just gotta have..no matter what you have to do to get them

and this cute old skool back pack plus it old's skool drinking bottle falls into that category.

And what did I have to do to get it???...well I could either buy it for 40 euros, or I could enter the marthon for 40 euros OR since I'd already entered the weeks races en bloc, I could enter the marathon for an added 20 euros. DONE!

 So on Sunday, before driving up to Sankt Johan in Tirol,I'm riding the Radmaraton. Choices were 22km, 63km or 90km. I chose 63km and will make it a relaxed 3hour ride..no stress. The parcours mentions the word "flat"..but this IS Austria and I've learned their concept of "flat" is not quite the same as mine!

 Just goes to show where the money is though...the back pack waas stuffed full of goodies..food, wine, soft drinks, commemorative pen knife and with a promise of a 20,000 euro raffle after the ride......

Sprint day today...first up effort at 0925 and if in the top 4 another blast at 1700.  For the sceptics, what with 2 fourth placings so far,  I guess I should mention that actually there are more than 4 of us in my age grade!

Translation and proof reading fail

Memo to self...stick with the bunch!

  just a proof reading error...or perhaps not!


The drive cross from Feltre to Deutschlandsberg was  "interesting"!

First of all my friendly GPS told me there was a 53 (yes...53 exactly) minutes delay on the planned route, and would I like a quicker way??  Looking at the schematic the "delay" was 214 (yup 214) km away so I declined the offer.

 However sometime later my friend Mr Tom Tom repeated the warning and so this time I accepted.

The result of this was that I was directed off the autobahn for a section and onto a quieter but slower road up a valley..as it criss crossed underneath the autobahn, I could see the traffic on it was running freely...grrrrh...90kph instead of 130...sob! However, this was only a minor sin when compared to the finale. The last part of the journey was always going to be a ~50km stretch off the autobahn but what it wasn't s'posed to be was a visit to parts of Austria seen only by wild animals and people who have not yet been discovered by the rest of the world! Well ok..that's an exaggeration, but only a very small one!..unmade roads, switchbacks and 16% downhills were my white knuckle inducing friends.

Deutschlandsberg Races

The first day's race was a Crit, which I had thought was going to be a Miss 'n Out but it turned out not to be and so I had to race the whole thing..ending up 4th in my age grade.

Today's race was a 37km road race, setting off with a group of 18 ladies all 50+ years. I stuck with the group(see my next post re being 'eliminated is 10 minutes behind the bunch!!!) going at about 44kph at times until the first nasty pinch after about 5km,when someone put in an attack and I got shelled. So for the next ~32km I got my fair share of TT training(++++) and again finished 4th in my age group, about 3 minutes down on the first 3.(my age group is 55+year olds)

No pix this time..there's a problem with the system..it's very difficult to type ...wont allow me to correct errors easily and I can't upload pix...sorry

Friday, 10 August 2012

Farewell Feltre, Italy and the 30 euro deal that gave me unlimited internet access for 4 weeks

leaving day is sometimes sad sometimes not.  This  is one of the sad variety.

I haven't a negative thing to say about Feltre, the area, the school,the people...everything was ACE...even the weather obliged, despite what the forecasters said.

For anyone wanting a good language school...Feltre has it doubled and in spades.  Check out the website:


and with place names like this who can complain!!!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Easing off time ahead of a week of races

So yesterday was a day off the bike and today was a "Ride the valleys" day...tomorrow will prob be more of the same and with the dscovery of a flattish circuit there might be a few speedy moments a-happening.

Previous bike holidays/times in Italy have left me in awe of the skill of Italian drivers...narrow roads, mountains, parking in non existant parkng places etc, but 3 times this last week I've been given cause to change my mind...all 3 times by truck drivers.

Today was yet another time when I had the opportunity to demonstrate  my incredible (!) bike handling skills as, with a brick wall one one side and a truck very close on the other, I hovered on the edge of a spill.  No scars on the wall side arm and I still have the hairs on my  truck side forearm, so nothing to show for it...thankfully.

Tomorrow..no main roads for me on my last ride in the area for this year.  Friday after classes will be the start of a 5 hour drive to Deutschlandsberg where I hve the following race program...+/-..may not do them all:  Sat..miss and out crit, Sunday RR,Monday 300m sprint, Tuesday rest day, Wednesday 2 up TT, Thursday hill climb, Friday RR, Saturday TT
Then Sunday drive to St Johan in Tirol for a weeks rest, recreation and training bfore racing the RR and TT there.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

I thought it might rain today.....

so I decided to drive down south abit, away from the mountains to a cyclist's idea of paradise called Montello

the ride around the periphery is 35km..gently undulating in areas..a nice recovery ride.  Then there are the climbs up to the top (the white roads on this map ) and the road along the ridge from left to right(or vice versa).

 The climbs vary in difficulty - there's a 2.6km climb with an average of 2%,  a 1km at 6%, or.... wait for it...a 3km climb with parts being 15-18%.

I'll confess...I rode the periphery and like all good tracks the world over, there were heaps of signs when it was almost impossible to get lost and none at all where one could get lost...and I did.  Well not actually lost lost...just got on the wrong road and had to fight traffic for a while.   The roads on the map above are peaceful  with little traffic.  The area has been used for the Giro and also for TT's and Gran Fondos.

Below is a map to put it into geographic context..."A" is Feltre where I'm currently staying and "B" is where Montello is a drive of about 50km to get there.  It's an area rich in WW1 history.  Must return for a more challenging ride.

I'm feeling very proud of myself today as I finally plucked up courage to drive through the extremely narrow tunnel into my apartment's parking lot and what's more without anyone assisting...up til now, after the first day when I had much help squeezing through, the car's been on the street.  I did it very slowly with both wing mirrors folded in and just got through...memo, 1 size smaller car next year!

Monday, 6 August 2012


in Italian this means "enough,"!
After about 3 or maybe 4 days of living with a family near Rome I'd decided I never wanted to eat pasta again..ever.  BASTA PASTA!

and now I think I've seen and photographed a life's worth of flag throwing.  Highly spectacular, skilled etc but...basta,

luckily there's usually an inebriated friar or two to lighten the atmosphere.....
and even before the day is done, some have just had enough.....
and that was me too.  I didn't stay for the races.I had had enogh sun for the day what with a 2 .5 hour road ride  plus watching the parade.,,,

Final note...something wrong with maths here...the temp was supposedly high 20s...pffft,,more like mid 30's and my Garmin keeps telling me the gradient of the roads I'm riding are 4-6% and I KNOW they are more!!! ;-).

Friday, 3 August 2012

It's Palio time

yesterday evening there was a procession from each quarter of the town around their area, ending up at their church where the priest blessed the participants.

Most of my pix are very ordinary due to it being dusk and my camera being somewhat basic..however:

So I went out again today to get some more shots of where we went in order to set the scene for the big days over the w/e

the first shot is of the symbols of the 4 quartieres and the lower one is the one we've ended up supporting..Porta Oria

pedestrian access when the gate's closed!

and yes it's good to start getting flag tossing skills early, but it's REALLY
 hard when the flag is sooo big!

sigh...with mountains all round...what's not to like?